Alright you lot, been a weird month hasn’t it? We’re all skint and some of us might have attempted dry January, congratulations if you made it all the way – commiserations if you didn’t. Jurgens mighty reds still sit top of the table, though we do have Manchester City breathing down our neck, so now is the time to be both realistic and humble.
January 2019 saw us witness the first defeat of the season for the Reds, which by all means is pretty impressive isn’t it? It took until the second half of the season for us to get beat, I’ll take that. (I’d have rather us spanked Man City, but you can’t have it all.)
So, what have we learnt this January? Several things really, so let’s start from the beginning of January.
Whichever way this season finishes, this game will be regarded to as pivotal. It’s either the game that ruined Liverpool’s 29-year wait for a title, or a result that inspired the players to get up, dust themselves off and go again.
After drawing with City earlier on in the season at Anfield, and grinding out results for the first half of the season, this game was the biggest one yet. Manchester City have, for the most part, been regarded as our closest competition this season, which they are in terms of their style of play and pragmatism.
That game saw us receive our first loss of the season. A 2-1 defeat thanks to goals from Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero, that was only made a little bit easier thanks to a consolation goal from our very own Firmino.
Looking back at the very same fixture last season, we lost 5-0. So this result does really show how far we’ve come to have only lost once this season, and that being only 2-1 to Pep Guardiola’s machine that is Manchester City.
What I’m saying is that the thing to take away from this result is that it hasn’t necessarily derailed Liverpools season, It’s at this point where the players really show their confidence and belief in the ability, and us as fans support them in doing so. We were one of only two teams to beat Manchester City last season, turned out all right for them didn’t it?
Four days later, we saw Liverpool lose again 2-1, this time to Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves’ side. Fans were really divided when the starting XI for this game was revealed, either between resting our best players to enable a better push for the league and Champions League. The other half however, was pretty confused as to why Klopp isn’t pushing for any trophy possible.
Being annoyed at the manager for fielding a weak team, especially when Wolves pretty much fielded their best XI, is understandable. But for me, I had to remind myself that we’re in with the best chance of winning the league in years, but this year Luis Suarez or Fernando Torres aren’t propelling us. This time, instead we have one of the best defences in Europe alongside one of the best attacking units too; it’s just the midfield that isn’t quite ticking if you want to be a proper pessimist.
Wolves away in the FA cup taught us all one thing; Klopp has his priorities set on both the League and the Champions League.
Brighton away saw us grind out a 1-0 thanks to a Salah Penalty, everyone was kind of happy to accept that result thanks to the previous two, and most welcomed it – you need to win games like that sometimes in order to win a league.
Next up, Crystal Palace at home.
Crystal Palace had just beaten Manchester City (That Andros Townsend volley btw, oh my days.) to fill Liverpool fans with joy. And then I feel like most of us realised they’re actually a really good side, and started to shit it abit.
Palace resisted our press really well, so naturally we shit ourselves a little bit. And it obviously didn’t help that we had Wilfred Zaha up against James Milner at right back because Trent was injured. But anyway, a mental 4-3 result that left most of us nearly having heart attacks, the players really showed their determination to grind out a result against a team that played excellent against us. Gotta give credit where it’s due.
The lads took a short little break to Dubai, hot weather training camp and that, lucky for some I guess. Next up, Leicester at Anfield, probably the most frustrating game of the year so far, (Say Man City all you want but we played well that game.) It took 3 minutes for Sadio Mane to make his mark on the game, with a lovely little finish after a somewhat boring build-up play consisting of 30 executive passes, but as long as the ball is in the back of their net and not ours, I’m not going to complain.
But low and behold, we go and concede from a set piece. Nor do we get a penalty that we should have. Which arguably nicked the 3 points from us.
This leads me on to my next point, the whole Salah diving thing? Come off it, nobody seemed to be this bothered when we had it done to us by Kane and Lamela last season.
The most irritating thing is now referees are going to be a lot harsher to Salah, thanks to the backlash they tend to get on social media. And whilst it’s right to not condone diving, and I certainly don’t, it’s getting to a point where referees just aren’t consistent enough anymore. Is it time to bring VAR in? I think so, except maybe a team only gets one or two chances to use it for a penalty or something, we do need some human error and excitement in the game still.
Overall, it’s not been the best month for us Reds, or the worst. We’re all waiting for Ox to come back, who we really have missed. Alongside him we’re all eagerly awaiting for Trent and Gomez to come back, we just haven’t been the same without them this last month. Hopefully Keita can kick on too, but if he’s being played slightly out of position than he’s used to, it’s kind of fair enough that he isn’t playing at his best. He is also a young lad in a new country, and in a new, more physical league, so let’s just wait and see.
Hope you enjoyed, drop me a tweet if you want to discuss anything. All the best!